For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


John Alexander Charles, C.M.M., C.D.


Rear-Admiral, RCN / C.A.F.


Born: 27 Mar 1928, Rouleau, Saskatchewan


Died: 25 Sep 2010, Victoria, British Columbia


CHARLES, John Alexander - passed away in Victoria, British Columbia, on Saturday, 25 September 2010. Rear-Admiral Charles distinguished himself in both his naval and civilian careers and in his commitment to his country and community. He was born on 27 March 1918 in Rouleau, Saskatchewan. He entered the Royal Military College of Canada in 1935 and after two years joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1937. At the start of the Second World War, he was a midshipman in HMS BERWICK, which patrolled northern waters and performed Norwegian operations. In the fall of 1940, he joined HMCS RESTIGOUCHE for convoy duty as part of the Clyde Escort Force and, in 1942, HMS LAFOREY for operations in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio. In 1944, he returned to Canada for staff signal duties at St Hyacinthe, Esquimalt and Washington DC, before taking command of HMCS CRESCENT on 1 January 1948. He completed Royal Navy and joint services staff courses and joined HMCS MAGNIFICENT before his appointment as Director of Naval Communications. On 29 October 1953, he took command of HMCS HAIDA and then became Commander Canadian Destroyers Far East and was promoted to captain. It was upon his return to British Columbia that he served as Commandant of Canadian Services College Royal Roads 1954-1957 before heading back to Ottawa to become Director of Naval Operations and, later, returning to Esquimalt as Commander, 2nd Escort Squadron in command of HMCS ASSINIBOINE. He served as Commodore of the Royal Canadian Navy Barracks, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific, Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Plans and as Chief of Maritime Operations. He retired from the post of Deputy Chief of Defence Staff in 1974. He was a notable graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada and received an honorary degree from Royal Roads Military College in 1991 and Royal Roads University in 2008. He was a recipient of the Order of Military Merit (CMM), the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) and was mentioned in dispatches (MID). He founded the Friends of Hatley Park Society, a group of volunteers who now work with Royal Roads University to preserve the grounds and gardens. Rear-Admiral Charles is survived by eight children and seven grand children. The funeral service for Rear-Admiral Charles will be held at 1400 on Thursday, 07 October 2010, at Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Road, Victoria, BC. His ashes will be scattered at sea on Friday 08 October 2010 from HMCS WINNIPEG.


Ships served in:






HMCS HAIDA - 8th Commanding Officer




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